Tuesday

25th Jan 2022

Exclusive

Hungary only EU state against bill to attract skilled migrants

Listen to article

Hungary is the only EU state voting against a bill aiming to lure highly-qualified immigrants to work in Europe, despite Budapest attracting only six such people in 2019.

An EU document dated 24 September says Hungary "does not consider either necessary or appropriate the further harmonisation of the relevant rules in the field of legal migration."

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

  • Screenshot of the leaked EU internal document (Photo: EUobserver)

"Hungary opposes any restriction on the application of labour market test beyond the provisions currently in force," it said.

Also known as the EU 'Blue Card', the bill is set to be adopted by the Council, representing member states, later this week.

The 2009 directive spells out entry and residence conditions for people to take up highly-qualified employment in the member states.

But relatively few are signing up, triggering a reform in order to attract more.

Just under 37,000 took advantage of the scheme in 2019, with most going to Germany. Hungary took six the same year - the least among any EU state.

Austria, the Czech Republic and Slovakia are abstaining, notes the EU document.

The bill will likely sail through because it only needs a qualified majority vote.

But the objections still point to hardline positions against migration, legal or not, among dissenting EU states.

Hungary says its objections are also rooted in labour market protection. Forty-seven people went to Hungary under the scheme between 2012 and 2019, according to the EU's statistical office, Eurostat.

The reformed rules to be adopted impose less stringent criteria for applicants and employers, while also easing family reunification. Highly skilled refugees will also be able to apply.

The vote comes as the European Commission is pushing its stalled asylum and migration reform package, which it proposed in September of last year.

"We have progress. We had progress on the Blue Card scheme," Margaritis Schinas, European Commission vice-president, told journalists last week.

Exclusive

Frontex suspends operations in Hungary

The EU's border and coast guard agency, Frontex will suspend operations in Hungary. The move follows a European Court of Justice ruling in December demanding Hungary stop pushing people back into Serbia.

Hungary 'ignoring EU court ruling on asylum'

The European Court of Justice last month ruled Hungary had breached EU asylum laws. Budapest was told to stop pushing asylum seekers back into Serbia - yet nearly 2,500 people have been forced across the border since that judgement.

EU to scrutinise Hungary 'ignoring asylum ruling'

The European Court of Justice told Hungary in December to stop forcing asylum seekers back into Serbia. The European Commission is now demanding Budapest follow the judgement - but Hungary has since reintroduced a special legal order, under Covid-19.

Agenda

EU struggles how to deal with Western Balkans This WEEK

EU leaders will meet in Slovenia, while MEPs gather in Strasbourg, as the EU struggles with how to deal with the Western Balkans, and what to do about the pandemic recovery plans of Hungary and Poland.

Macron promises strong EU borders

Obligatory detentions, more security-screening, and faster deportations - these are the French EU presidency's migration priorities.

Analysis

Europe must stop falling into the ISIS trap

The EU does not need to become a counter-propaganda machine - but finding and providing the right facts will be the only way for Europe to stop falling into ISIS' polarisation trap.

Macron promises strong EU borders

Obligatory detentions, more security-screening, and faster deportations - these are the French EU presidency's migration priorities.

Analysis

Europe must stop falling into the ISIS trap

The EU does not need to become a counter-propaganda machine - but finding and providing the right facts will be the only way for Europe to stop falling into ISIS' polarisation trap.

Latest News

  1. EIB invests €50m in autonomous delivery robot operator
  2. EU eyes Indian Ocean naval adventure
  3. EU auditors slam fragmented, sluggish 5G rollout
  4. EU and UK try to melt ice in post-Brexit talks
  5. German ministers condemn 'unrealistic' EU hydrogen rules
  6. 15 years on: How are Bulgaria and Romania doing in the EU?
  7. Coerced into pleading guilty: the rise of trial-waivers in Europe
  8. Poland and Hungary go hard on Belarus migrants

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us